I Want My Knee to Heal So Bad | Road to Recovery

Since I know the majority of you come here for spanking new bouldering content, I thought I’d give you an update on my knee and my Road to V7, aka Road to V12, aka Road to V2, aka Road to Being Able to Use My Knee Again in Any Sort of Normal Capacity.

So.

I’m lying on the floor of my hotel room in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. I just iced my knee with a huge bag of ice the dude from the restaurant gave me. I debated about whether or not to tip him. Should I give him the 5 pesos in my pocket? Would that be insulting? Do you really have to tip in a hotel when anyone does anything for you? Should I just dip my knee in the pool?

Brought the ice back up to my room, lay on the floor, propped my knee up on the foam roller (I travel nowhere without my foam roller), and iced the shit out of it. Then rested it. Then iced it some more. Watched some Emma Chamberlain. Rested it. Iced the living fuck out of it. And now I’m elevating it.

This knee is so fucking frustrating. Is it just my LCL that’s partially torn? Is it getting better? If it’s getting better why doesn’t it feel like it’s getting better? Are my ACL and meniscus also kinda fucked? God I hope not.

I’ve stopped writing about bouldering because I’m not bouldering. I went to Bishop last week and just looked at boulders. I drove by some boulders leaving Hermosillo the other day and you know what? IT DIDN’T FEEL WEIRD NOT BEING ABLE TO CLIMB THEM. I’M GETTING USED TO NOT BEING ABLE TO CLIMB.

It’s terrible.

When I can climb, where do I want to go? Bishop, of course. Leavenworth. Gold Bar. Index. Joe’s Valley. Moe’s Valley. RMNP. Bishop again. Joshua Tree. Back to Bishop. Leavenworth. Bishop. Leavenworth. Bishop. Leavenworth.

Squamish.

Has anyone else partially torn their LCL in isolation? How long did it take to heal? Please leave several comments below.

I can hear the ice melting next to me.

I’m going to watch a movie on Hulu tonight and go to bed. Supposedly I’m fasting right now. We’ll see how that pans out. I think it will pan out fairly well. Tomorrow I’m driving to Mazatlan. Or maybe even beyond, to San Blas.

I want my knee to heal so bad.

I Choose the Process | Fallon, NV to Lone Pine, CA

9:00am in Fallon, Nevada and I want to hit the road but my car is covered in snow. Luckily it doesn’t look like heavy snow. It looks like the kind my windshield wipers can handle. It’s not that cold out.

Going over Montgomery Pass the full-on blizzard conditions start. There’s a truck in front of me gong 20mph and I downshift into second so I won’t skid into him from behind. When I got off 95 the road started to climb, mile after mile of climbing, and I kept thinking, “How are we still climbing? How is this possible? We must be at 8,000 feet by now.” Then we merged with highway 6 and we were still climbing. I prayed that the Subee would hold it together, and she did, getting me over the pass. Once we were in California there was no snow at all. They asked me if I had any fruits or vegetables and then I was on to Bishop.

I planned to stay three nights in Bishop, but when I got there and went to the Von’s to fill up gas I thought, “Fuck this place. I’m getting out of here.” Everything about Bishop reminds me of the last time I was there, under much different circumstances, on a much different road trip. Things already feel like they’ve changed light years since then, but the memories are also still fresh. Pretty sure I wasn’t going to stay, I got a sandwich and a matcha latte at Schatz’s bakery, then made my way up to the Peabody Boulders.

If you’re new to this blog, let me tell you that last year about this time I became obsessed with the discipline of bouldering. It just so happens that Bishop is one of the best bouldering places on the planet, and it also just so happens that the Peabody Boulders, in the Buttermilk area, are some of the most famous boulders on the planet. Specifically the boulder pictured on the right side of the photo above, the Grandpa Peabody boulder. I figured if I wasn’t going to stay in Bishop I at least needed to see this bloc. I needed to touch the holds of Lucid Dreaming V15 and see The Process V16. I also wanted to check out Ambrosia V11, the 50-foot highball I’d seen Nina Williams send in a video.

The washboard road up to the Buttermilks was wretched. I kept thinking the wheels were going to fall of the Subee. Once I got there I parked in the completely wrong spot and didn’t take the trail up to the boulder because I didn’t know there was a trail. And then I was standing in front of it, looking at the lines, not thinking, “I’ll never be strong enough for this,” but rather, “I feel like I could pull on some of these crimps.” The main thing that impressed me about the Buttermilks, though, was the silence. There was no one there. It was cold and clear and you could see the Sierras in the background, looming over everything. I wanted to sit and appreciate the silence, but I also wanted to get out of there. I felt like I didn’t really belong there. I felt like it wasn’t my moment to be there. So I walked back down to the car, this time on the trail, and just as I was leaving two cars came ripping up the dirt road, disturbing the silence.

After Bishop I got on the 395 south, not knowing where I’d end up. I ended up in a town called Lone Pine, about 40 miles south of Bishop, in The Portal Motel. It was great. I watched Hulu. I chatted with friends. I spent way too much money on a black olive pizza from The Pizza Factory, and then spent several minutes stewing over the fact that I spent so much money when there was a special they didn’t tell me about over the phone that would’ve saved me a bunch of said money. And then, right before bed, I went out for a walk. The Sierras were glowing to the west, and the stars glowing in the sky. Orion’s belt was throbbing. I chilled at the skatepark for a bit, in the dark, but it was so cold that I was quickly forced back to the room. Right before bed I wanted to read and realized the only books I’d brought into the room were a psychology book by James Hillman and The Bishop Bouldering Guide. This presente a bit of a conundrum, as I wanted to read neither. But in the end I opted for the bouldering guidebook. I read the descriptions of some of the problems and also an essay on the development of The Process V16. To dedicate your life to bouldering, I thought, What must that be like? Finally around 11:30pm I turned off the light and tried to sleep but mostly just lay there, thinking. Thinking about what, I don’t remember.

 

19 Days | Cali Road Trip #5 Road to V7 #6,234

Planet X, Joshua Tree.

I’m in a hotel room in Ashland, Oregon. It’s freezing outside. Thirty degrees, to be exact. I just walked to Safeway where I bought a big thing of Tejava tea, a Kind bar, and a FocusAid. I’m watching the Chelsea v. Tottenham game and SORT OF waiting to see if Christian Pulisic will come on, but I also think I just need to leave soon. I’m debating whether or not to go to Bend today, mostly just to try a V3. The thing is, I WANT to try this V3, it’s an epic problem and I think I can send it, but I also really don’t want to do the drive from Bend to Seattle. I don’t like that drive. I don’t know why. But today I’d rather do the drive from Ashland to the Portland area, or Ashland to Centralia, or Ashland all the way home to Seattle. I’m a little bit reticent about getting back to Seattle. Reticent about the cold, dark days. Reticent about being on the boat. Reticent about being in gloomy Seattle when the climbing gyms aren’t even open.

Four days ago I sent a V3 in Red Rocks called “Sorange.” Yesterday I sent a V3- and a V3 at a boulder called “Byron’s Boulder” near Mt. Shasta. I don’t think either of the problems yesterday were V3. One of them, Pulley Pulling, was probably a V2, and the other problem, “Byron’s Backside,” was probably a V2 too, though maybe a V1. Byron’s Backside was a sloper problem, and I don’t think it was too much harder than Fountain Blues, in Leavenworth, which is a V0 (the best V0 in the universe).

The reason I’m mentioning these problems I’ve recently sent is because it’s possible that right now I feel stronger than ever. This is because I’ve been climbing A LOT lately, and so the question is: how have I been able to climb so much without injuring myself or further aggravating previous injuries?

And then answer, I think might be, diet. I’ve been hanging out with Carolyn lately due to our road trip, and she eats approximately 6,000 times better than me. She east a LOT more vegetables than me, and she also never goes crazy on the sugar. Could these two things be it? Is the solution merely eating sugar in MODERATION and also getting more vegetables? I dare say this could be it, or could be a massive step in the right direction. I like feeling strong. I want to keep feeling this way. And maybe it means I need to make some massive changes to my diet.

After Tahoe I went to the Bay Area where Carolyn and I bouldered at Salt Point State Park. Then we went to Joshua Tree where we experienced some of the most magnificent bouldering I’ve ever seen, albeit with the hardest grades I’ve ever seen. And from there to Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas. Oh, and I kinda went to Bishop, too. I went to Bishop, camped two nights, almost froze to death, and climbed some beautiful, juggy, overhanging blocs.

I still haven’t sent V4.

But I’m getting damn close.

J-Tree, Bishop, and Red Rocks will be subjects for other posts. Especially J-Tree. I’ve never experienced a place like that.

For now, though, I’m going to watch this Chelsea game, drink my tea, and get ready to send it MAYBE to Bend, maybe just up north to Seattle. If you have a thought on the matter please post a comment immediately and try to influence me.

Anyway.

Talk soon.

-Wetz

Tahoe Days | Cali Road Trip #4

South Lake Tahoe.

Today the proverbial rubber will finally hit the proverbial road. I’ll go to Bishop, California and two things will happen: 1) I’ll figure out if I want to climb, and 2) I’ll figure out if I can climb. My stoke on bouldering hasn’t been LOW lately, but it’s certainly been lower than it was a few months ago, and it’s all because of this shoulder injury which isn’t really a shoulder injury. You see, I don’t even really know what’s going on. I’m pretty sure it’s my teres minor, but it’s not the kind of thing where I wake up in the morning and can’t lift my arm over my head or can’t even imagine climbing. I can totally imagine climbing, it’s just that certain moves aggravate it. It’s hard to imagine doing dynos, for instance, and I love dynos. Dynos are one of my favorite things, and one of the few things in the bouldering world I’m good at. But doing a dyno right now just seems like murder.

The sun has just peeked over Heavenly, which means I’ve got a little more time to kill till the roads warm up more and my car warms up more. I could of course just get in my car right now, but I don’t want to. I want to enjoy the warmth of this hotel room a little longer, the softness of the sheets, the sun streaming in through the window. I want to sit here sipping my venti English Breakfast with a little bit of heavy cream that I just got at Starbucks. I want to write this blog and alternate between googling all the things I normally google: SHAK, NIO stock, Pulisic, US Canada Border, Chile border open, etc etc. Now I have added the Pfizer vaccine to that last, at least for the short term. The idea of life returning to “normal” here on planet earth is tantalizing, but it makes me think about how even when things go back to normal our larger problems will remain unsolved. We’ll continue wrecking planet, we’ll continue our unbridled consumption, and more depressingly, we’ll continue letting this unbridled consumption be our number one ideal. Just about the only constant in history seems our fate to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. I am a victim of it, too. The first thing I did this morning when I woke up was go to Starbucks. Yesterday I combatted loneliness and doldrums by spending money, by consuming.

Another good reason to go to Bishop. Less to consume there.

It’s incredible how quickly things dry out. The thin veneer of frost on the Subaru is already gone. The roads are mostly clear following last weekend’s snow storm. I’m not sure how long I’m going to stay in Bishop. That all depends on how well my body does and my overall stoke levels. At one point the plan was just to cruise back to Seattle right after Bishop, but now it’s looking like I’ll be making a stop in the Bay Area on the way back. I have to remind myself sometimes that one of the reasons I left Seattle to go on this road trip was get to away from the rain and gloom, and indeed I just looked at the week forecast for Seattle and there’s rain six out of the next seven days. So I shouldn’t be in a hurry to get back. In fact, I COULD go south from Bishop and loop around through Bakersfield, and then surf up the coast to the Bay Area. I don’t know. I feel like it will all become clear very quickly.

Another thing that’s become clear to me involving this winter: I can’t stay on the boat this winter in Seattle unless I get a job. That’s the only way. Sitting around on a 27 foot boat wallowing amidst the constant rain and clouds does not sound like a good time. And this job has to involve getting off the boat. Which could be tough to find right now. If I don’t stay on the boat I’ll probably go south somewhere, maybe Mexico, maybe Central America, maybe further south to Colombia, Peru, or Chile and Argentina if they open. Argentina is showing signs of life in the tourism industry but Chile remains staunchly closed. We’ll see.

For now it’s time to enjoy my tea, check out the news a bit more, and pack my things. I’ll be climbing in Bishop today!

The Drive to Tahoe | Cali Road Trip #3

The view from the illustrious Blackjack Inn, South Lake Tahoe, California.

8:17am in the Blackjack Inn in Tahoe and the heater is blessedly on but will turn off in just a few moments. My room is small but nice and clean. The mattress is firmer than the one at the hotel in Sacramento. I look out on a beautiful hillside covered in snow. And as much as I’m scared I’ll freeze to death camping tomorrow in Bishop, that’s still the plan. The plan is to go to the Pit Campground at Bishop and, provided there are campsites, set up shop. I mean I guess this is the plan. The high tomorrow in Bishop is supposed to be 61. Which is perfect. But the low? Twenty-four. I have a sleeping bag I think is rated to around 40 degrees, and then I have a down comforter, and then of course I can just layer some clothes. Sweatpants, wool socks. Sounds pretty fun, right?

The sun has finally come out in Tahoe. The high today is JUST over freezing. What am I going to do today? I have no idea. Probably walk to a coffee shop at some point. I’m drinking a Guayaki Blackberry Mint right now. The grocery store here, Raley’s, has an insane collection of every weird beverage I like. They have all the low-calorie Guayaki options, including the 5 calorie powerhouse Lima Limon, which is (drumroll) unsweetened. They ALSO have every kind of Tejava variety you could imagine. They have the lemon variety, which until yesterday I didn’t know existed, and also an ORGANIC OOLONG VARIETY THAT OH MY GOD…I haven’t tried it but today could be the day. There’s so much to do around here. Is there anything to do around here? I could walk to the lake, walk into Nevada, maybe…go to some hot springs? Maybe….sit in my room all day and meditate? Maybe…sit in my room all day and mediate? Maybe…plan what’s coming next in my life after this road trip?

Highlights from yesterday include:

1) Buying a hat made in Canada that is 50% wool, 10% alpaca, and 40% other stuff.

2) Realizing the wool rim on the hat made my forehead itch, trying to return it, and getting shut down.

3) Getting to the chain control checkpoint just past Kyburz (what a cool name for a town), stressing that I’d have to turn around, buy chains, figure out how the hell to put them on, and then get back in line, but instead just getting waved through because I had a Subaru.

4) Finally getting into Tahoe and not having to drive in snow anymore.

5) Meeting a dude named Jake at the Rocklin Quarry Park and talking to him (the only in person conversation I’ve had on this trip longer than 30 seconds).

6) The beauty of the fresh snow near Tahoe adorning the trees and boulders.

7) Getting a grande peppermint mocha at Starbucks at like 6pm.

8) Walking to the Nevada state line, feeling a bit like I was entering the gates of hell.

9) Getting a guidebook to Bishop and gazing at all the beautiful problems that could become my first V4.

10) Walking to the lake and seeing the steam rise off it.

My mate is gone which has been me feeling a bit distressed. There’s a cafe called Free Bird that apparently serves mate but it’s three miles away and I don’t know if I’m down to walk that far. And I’m not going to drive because my car is currently frozen and the next time I get in my car will be to drive down to Bishop. I hope my surfboard is OK right now. I’m a little worried about it freezing and then thawing out. I’m just so glad the sun is out. And that I don’t have to drive back toward the pass tomorrow to go to Bishop, but rather into Nevada and then south. It’s probably time for me to put some clothes on and leave this hotel room. It’s probably time to get away from screens. It’s probably time to go for a walk and find even more mate.